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Inventory of Control Instruments
Want to make an inventory of all measurement instruments and actuators at my plant. Need your advice

Dear Friends,

I have just started my career as instrumentation engineer in a chemical plant. There are more than 1k instruments in the plant. I have observed that there is no organized and detailed database which holds all of the information regarding the control & instrument equipment. The information is spread out in many sources. What I want to achieve is following:

1) Make an ordered list of all equipment tag numbers (indicators, transmitters, analyzers, valves, switches and etc)

2) Put the model numbers in front of the tags to reach manuals easily.

3) If possible put history of the instrument (since when have it been there, what was reason of change and etc.)

4) Put design/rating and environment information - in order to find the replacement in short time when an urgent change is required.

5) Make a detailed parts list for each instrument. The purpose is following: let's say if I want to see the main fault reason of pressure gauges. It would give me great insight with the part list at hand. I can track if the problem was in diaphragm, tube crack (abnormal pressure variation), or due to wear of mechanical components (high vibration maybe). With this I can make more optimal decisions in future replacements and make stricter specifications regarding certain parts of an instrument.

6) Link available related drawings.

My problem is that the plant where I work in is very old. There are cases when drawings do not coincide with the reality. There are a lot instruments without tags on them, and in some instruments the attached tag number is different from real expected number, because it has been replaced with a repaired instrument from other location.

Also, if I am going to make a part list this would increase the required time several times. And I am not quite sure if it would be effective time investment at all. Because in the end, the equipment history would give the fault reason anyway, so perhaps preparing part list would not be much of use. What do you think?

I don't know how to approach. I thought maybe I should just start with one section of the plant, and let's say do it just for pressure indicators, and after finishing the whole plant move to another type of instrument. But I am in a way afraid due to scale of information to be processed and the long long time required for it.

Have you ever done something similar? What would you recommend according to your experience?

I would appreciate your advice a lot. Thank you for your time.

> Have you ever done something similar?

Yes, I did similar things many years ago with video production equipment:
Information Management For Your Plant Operation

From the details that you've written I think that you're already a good way down the road.

My article now has a different URL:

Start with an instrument index, there should be one in the plant's drawing system. The instrument index will list tag, model number, range, P&ID drawing, line number, etc. You could modernize it into a database or spreadsheet and add additional info or even add links to other files, manuals, etc.

good luck

What we have is an equipment file. In that file we have sub files for each machine. We place our PDF's in those sub files. The problem with this is that there are sensors which are common to some machines meaning we have more inventory and locations for them than necessary.

I like your approach and think you"re on the right track.



May be you can consider using an asset management application. SmartPlant intools software by Intergraph corporation is a widely used tool.

Thanks a lot, I appreciate your help. Its good to know that I am on the right track.

Microsoft Access makes a very useful database, start out with a simple table to record the tag No and perhaps the title then add from there tables for instrument data, process data etc.

If you have P&ID drawings they are a good place to start, you can cross off each instrument as you go. You will find that many instruments share common information to be copied and pasted. You should be able to find other records like purchase orders that provide model number that you can add as time goes by. Start by creating an instrument index divided by plant area.

The beauty of a database you create yourself, is you best understand how it works so you're not reliant on a third party to fix or modify it.